Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Audi's new luxury cars engineered on Linux

For several years, German automobile manufacturer Audi AG, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, has been steadily migrating its engineering systems over to Linux. The company hopes to finish the job in 2007 and have the bulk of its servers and workstations running 64-bit Linux by the end of the year.

Recently Audi, whose longstanding motto is "Vorsprung durch Technik" ("Progress through technology"), has been upgrading to 64-bit Linux in deploying its automotive CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering) servers, where simulation software is used in the design of casts, frames, and components, as well as for crash-test simulations and other 3-D visualization problems, as part of the greater migration to Linux.

"2003 and 2004 saw an explosion in the use of x86 systems using Linux," says Audi spokesman Florian Kienast. "These systems are now being replaced by x86_64-based systems."

Kienast says that most CAE applications that the company uses perform well on the x86_64 architecture. "The systems have enough memory and I/O bandwidth to cope with the requirements of the applications," he says. "The notable exceptions are MSC Nastran and ABAQUS -- these products are extremely power-hungry. Here, the large cache available on the Itanium 2 has proved to be extremely valuable."

The move to Linux is occurring not only on the server side; the company is using Linux for workstations, too.

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